by Moses Apsan, Esq.
Washington- December 18, 2010 - When the Senate failed to approve the Dream Act the "baby was thrown out with the bathwater." The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act would have granted illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who entered the United States before the age of 16 and graduated high school, the right to apply for conditional legal status and if they complete two years of service in the military or two years of college they would be able to apply for permanent legal status.
But for no logical reason, those that opposed the Dream argued successfully that the bill is an amnesty and that it's approval would oppose enforcement of immigration laws and failed to include a resolution to the problem of border security. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on the Senate floor said that “this bill is a law that at its fundamental core is a reward for illegal activity.”
In the end, the vote was 55 to 41; five votes short of the 60 votes required to take the DREAM Act from bill to law. And even though many blame the republicans for the loss, five democrats voted against it's passage while three Republicans backed the bill. The defeat was a loud victory for conservatives who have worked successfully to label the bill as an amnesty. It was a blow to the Obama administration and for the democratic party in general and a continuation of the republican strategy to vote against any Obama legislation, no matter if it is, in reality, good for our country or economy.
Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Jon Tester of Montana, Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska , whose no vote made the difference between life in the shadows or life as an American to over 2 million children will now join those to blame for this nightmare.
Sens.Robert Bennett of Utah, Dick Lugar of Indiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted in favor of the Dream Act; displaying a glimmer of hope that the republican controlled congress of 2011 may yet provide some relief for these children and perhaps for the 12 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S.
Earlier this month the House's passed a similar bill and paved the way for today’s vote in the Senate. Along with Don't Ask Don't Tell it was an eleventh-hour effort to pass the measure before Republicans and the Tea Party take control of the House and seats in the Senate come the 112th Congress in January.
Advocates for the Dream Act aimed their arguments to senators from states with high Latino populations, saying that passage of the DREAM Act only rewards the hard work these young adults have displayed; children who were brought to the United States by their parents with no fault of their own.
Democrat Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip tried to no avail to convince the holdouts that the law would have helped millions of young immigrants. “This is the only country they have ever known and all they’re asking for is a chance to serve this nation… that is what the DREAM Act is all about,” Durbin Said. “To say that we’re pushing and rushing a vote for them … it can’t come too soon! Their lives hang in the balance.” In the end he stated that “I’ve known the names of most people and how they would vote for a long, long time … we’d hope for a few more on our side of the aisle, but we didn’t achieve it today.”
After ten years of frustrating attempts to pass the Dream Act immigration activists and Hispanic leaders vowed to get even with the senators who voted against the Dream in the 2012 election and in the future.